Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Jayson Tatum was right at home with the Cameron Crazies during his recent visit.

Jayson Tatum set for ESPY’s

Jayson Tatum was right at home with the Cameron Crazies during his recent visit.
Jayson Tatum was right at home with the Cameron Crazies during his HS official visit.

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke freshman and 2016 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year Jayson Tatum will be in Hollywood, Calif., this week to attend both the 14th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year ceremony and the 2016 ESPY Awards.

As National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Tatum is in the running for the 2016 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award. The winner will be named at a ceremony in Hollywood on Tuesday, July 12. ESPN NBA personality Sage Steele will host the event, and awards will be presented by the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton and 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion Abby Wambach, among others.

Tatum is vying to become the second Duke men’s basketball player to earn the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, as Greg Paulus was the award’s recipient in 2005. Tatum is already the second member of the Duke men’s basketball program to be named Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, alongside Jabari Parker (2012).

A three-time Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year honoree, Tatum averaged 29.5 points and 9.1 rebounds as a senior at Chaminade College Prep. He led the school to the 2016 Class 5 state championship, pouring in 40 points in the title game against Kickapoo High School. He topped the 40-point mark in six games as a senior.

Tatum was a 2016 McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic selection. He was named a first-team Naismith Trophy All-American and one of five finalists for the Naismith Trophy Player of the Year award, as well as a first-team All-USA honoree by USA Today.

The St. Louis native has extensive experience in the USA Basketball program, having earned three gold medals and averaged 11.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 19 games for his country.

Tatum helped lead the U.S. to gold at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship in Heraklion, Greece, with averages of 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds. He captured his first international gold medal at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and followed it up the next summer with another gold at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship.

A student ambassador at Chaminade College Prep, Tatum has volunteered locally by helping to provide meals for the underprivileged. He has also volunteered as a speaker with at-risk youth and as an instructor at youth basketball clinics.

As part of his nomination for Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year, Tatum and his fellow nominees will walk the red carpet at the 2016 ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 13.


Coach K Praises Lakers Ingram

ClrI4XhWkAAfDRSDuke landed another player in the lottery this evening, when Brandon Ingram was the second pick in the NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers,

Ingram, a Kinston native, joins one of the NBA's storied franchises where he will get an instant dose of the limelight.

“The Los Angeles Lakers are getting both a great player and a great person in Brandon Ingram. Brandon was a special player this year at Duke, and his best basketball is still ahead of him,' said Duke Coach Mike Kryzewski.

Ingram started slowly last season at Duke before steadily improving and showing off his immense skill set.  Ingram will join another Duke alumnus in Ryan Kelly on the Lakers roster.

''I have absolutely loved coaching Brandon because he is a no-maintenance player who loves and respects the game. He is also a creative and thoughtful young man who comes from a beautiful family,'' said Kryzyewski.

Ingram has already scored endorsement deals after attending Duke this past season.  Ingram was always a Duke fan despite growing up in Kinston, North Carolina in a place many consider Tar Heel country.

I’m excited to watch his promising career with the Lakers get under way. Brandon will continue to get better and better. I’m proud that he’ll always be a member of the Duke basketball family,'' said Krzyzewski,

Ingram was the 21st lottery pick, a record in the NBA Draft.

Kennard drives

2016-17 Duke Schedule Preview – Update

Kennard drivesThere is a lot of anticipation with concern to the 2016-17 Duke Blue Devils Basketball team and here is an early look at what their schedule will look like.

While I don't know who the season opening opponent will be, I do know that Duke will play two games in Hall of Fame Classic where they will face Penn State and then the winner of Rhode Island and Cincinnati.  The games will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena, adjacent to the casino in Connecticut.

There will be two preliminary games as well, one of those games will be Duke taking on Grand Canyon.  There will be another game for a total of two contests in Cameron  Indoor Stadium to open the season.  So, for clarity, Duke will play four games in this tournament .

Sandwiched in between these games will be the Champions Classic where Duke draws Kansas this season while Kentucky takes on Michigan State.  These games will be played in the famed Madison Square Garden on November the 15th.  Kansas will be ranked among the nations best teams and tabbed highly in the pre season top ten.

Duke will face Michigan State in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday, November the 29th.  This will be the fourth time the teams have met in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, with Duke winning three of those contests.  The Spartans defeated Louisville a season ago and Mike Krzyzewski owns an impressive 8-1 record against Tom Izzo.

Moving on to December, Duke will play the Florida Gators in the Jimmy V Classic and the game will be in Madison Square Garden in New York.  This will be a part of a double-header and Arizona State and Purdue could make up the other game but I am not sure of that at this time.  The Gators are coached by Mike White, who is the son of Duke Athletic Director Kevin White.

Grayson Allen will be set to take on the schedule in 2016-17 for Duke.
Grayson Allen will be set to take on the schedule in 2016-17 for Duke.

Duke will also head to Las Vegas to take on UNLV on December the 10th.  This game will be held at the MGM Resort Arena.

Duke will face a brutal ACC road schedule that consists of games at North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Florida State, Miami and Wake Forest.

Duke will take on the following teams in Cameron Indoor Stadium - North Carolina, NC State, Miami, Pitt, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and Boston College.

That leaves about six games, many of which will be in Cameron. Here is where the guess-work begins.  Duke may play games in the state of Pennsylvania and Texas as homecoming games for seniors Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones.  They might also play another game against a stellar opponent in New Jersey.  There are sure to be a couple of mid major type of opponents as well.

This is what we can put together at this time and some things can change but most of what I have mentioned here is etched in stone.

The road games in the ACC will certainly test a talented Duke squad, so for those over zealous fans expecting perfection, think again.  The Blue Devils return three starters and add to that one of the nations best recruiting classes. With that said, now all fans can do is wait for tip off for what is sure to be an exciting season.

Duke will be announcing their schedule through the Atlantic Coast Conference in the coming months.

November 14 2010: Duke guard Kyrie Irving (1) during a game between the Princeton Tigers and the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 97-60.Watson//

Kyrie Irving – Heroics Come Natural

November 14 2010: Duke guard Kyrie Irving (1) during a game between the Princeton Tigers and the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 97-60.Watson//
November 14 2010: Duke guard Kyrie Irving (1) during a game between the Princeton Tigers.

Everybody witnessed how cool under pressure Kyrie Irving can be as he sank a three-point shot over Steph Curry in last evenings NBA Finals.  In a game where the teams combined to go 1-17 down the stretch, Irving found the mark for what would be the game winning points.  While everyone will adore LeBron James and they should, the Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Champions just as much on the play of Irving.

Heroics is Nothing New for Kyrie Irving

I have been covering Duke Basketball recruiting for a long, long time. That means I have seen NBA legends when they were young including LeBron James.  In all honesty, there have been several Duke players to be that were special during their shoe camp or AAU Basketball days.  I could tell tales of many of them, but nobody excited more than watching Kyrie Irving.  I was in Orlando for the AAU Nationals during a talent packed event in 2009.  That's when I really got see how ridiculously good Irving was on the court.

Back then he played for a little known New Jersey Roadrunners team that was not at many major events.  In fact, his faithfulness to their program probably hurt his exposure before he broke out.  Duke was recruiting Irving hard, where current Northwestern head coach Chris Collins was the lead assistant.  But Mike Krzyzewski was also heavily involved and loved the skill set Irving displayed.  The three were at every single Irving performance on the Disneyland courts.

Irving was so special that he would end up playing some games for the New Jersey Celtics  and the Roadrunners.   He quickly became the show that was not to be missed,  Irving would show off his ridiculous moves as Krzyzewski munched on the unusually tasty and infamous Disney popcorn.  Irving would lead his team to a win over the uber talented Michael Gilchrist led Team Final  in a game where he was a one man wrecking crew.  That performance is now legendary as were many of his games in Orlando that year.  Irving flat out put on a show of dazzling moves average players simply cannot manage.

Earlier that AAU season, Irving struggled a little bit against competition in the NBA Top 100 Camp. By years end he was the top point guard in his class.  He simply adjusted to the better AAU competition quickly after going against lesser talent when playing for the Roadrunners. In a span of two hours, Irving helped his team knock off the two best teams that season in All Ohio Red and Team Final who both were loaded with college players to be.

ky8-230x194What Kyrie Irving told me post game in Orlando after his performance -

''Aw, it was great I enjoyed it!  I put on a show and it was just great to have him here.  He's coached so many great guys like LeBron and Kobe and seeing him here ... he's like a celebrity there watching me so it was great.  Just to know that he took time out and came in from Vegas to see me ... it's an honor.  I mean, he didn't have to come in here with everything he had going on, but he did.''

Irving went 20 for 20 from the free throw stripe in the game I witnessed at the AAU Nationals in Orlando ended the game with 37 points.  A legend was born on that day and he showed the world last night a little more of that magic as he drained a three.

_SAC3319Irving at Duke

I doubt Mike Krzyzewski had looked forward to another player any more than he did Kyrie Irving playing for Duke.  As I said, he was special and made those who saw him drool with anticipation.  As it turns out Irving played in just eleven games for Duke after a foot injury against Butler where he scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half to lead his team to a win.  Irving was to be out the rest of the season until  the NCAA Tournament.

During that time, Kyrie's foot took on a life of its own as fans could not get past they could not see the player destined to be the top freshman in the land play. For those who may not know or remember, Irving had been named ACC Rookie of the Week three times in ten games.  He was also ESPN's National Player of the Week after a 31 point outburst against Michigan State in a Duke won during the ACC/Big10 Challenge.

How good was Irving at Duke?  He was in the top ten in six statistical categories in the Atlantic Coast Conference when he went down. Irving also led the entire nation among freshman in scoring.  Duke was also undefeated and ranked number one in the land before said injury.  He had the most assists in NCAA history for a freshman debuting in a game with nine against Colgate.  He never scored in anything other than double digits in a Duke uniform.

More Knowledge Bombs on Irving

Kyrie committed to Duke October 22nd, 2009 where his decision was aired on ESPNU.  He joined Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston who had made their intent known earlier.  As in many situations of late, Irving chose Duke over Kentucky.

He transferred from Montclair Kimberly Academy to St. Patrick's where he played for Kevin Boyle.

He was the high school teammate of Dexter Strickland who went to UNC where he stayed all four years.  There was a time when people debated who was the best of the backcourt duo but there is no longer any question.

Kyrie's Dad played for Boston University and was 6-4.  His Uncle also had some influence on Irving when he was making his college decision.  They once told Duke that Irving was not signing for a year but sixty years.  This is interesting in all the critics who say Irving barely played for Duke do not realize the two made life long commitments.  The cold hard facts are that he loves Duke to this day. He was always on the sideline cheering on teammates when rehabbing his injury and is quick to mention is a school alum.

Duke cooled on Brandon Knight who ended up at Kentucky once it was clear they were the leader for Irving who they prefered . Here is an excerpt from an update I did at that time -

''The visit went very well with Kyrie Irving this past week.  How good?  Well, Duke canceled their in home visit with Brandon Knight which was scheduled for tomorrow.  Duke is hoping that Irving pulls the trigger in the next month or earlier.  Duke will stay on Irving big time, so much so that they will visit an open gym on Tuesday of this week.''

Irving and Nolan Smith could have  been the best backcourt in Duke history had they played the whole year together.

I bet you did you know that Irving was coached by current Duke assistant Jeff Capel.  That happened when Capel and Irving won Gold for the Team USA U-18 team in July of 2010.

The shot Irving made over Seth Curry will live in history.  He helped lead Cleveland back from the dead and a 3-1 deficit for the first time in NBA history.  According to ad metrics his stock rose to the tune of a few more million bucks last evening.

Mike Krzyzewski will now have to recruit Irving again, this time to play for Team USA in the Rio Olympics.

In Closing -

It will be fun to watch as Kyrie continues to progress.  Here is one last trip down memory lane from when he played in the N.C. Pro Am. No matter the event, Kyrie Irving always came to play.


High stepping Kyrie Irving - BDN/Rick Crank Photo

Kyrie Irving- It's as if we got a sneak peek at Kyrie during the Pro Am where he created quite the buzz with his effortless moves which dazzled the audience.  It was no surprise to me for I have seen him do some amazing things on the AAU trail where I witnessed at least 20 games he played in.  Go down the checklist ... ball handling, shooting, penetrating, playing the passing lanes, finishing and KI draws a straight A report card.

What he can get better at is defense and once K works on that a bit more there will be no stopping him from achieving his goals.  No if's ands or but's about the fact that a backcourt of Smith and Irving will be the nations best and Irving brings mad skills to the table.  He will make everybody on a talented team better with his ability to break people down off the dribble and he should dish for a lot of dunks to his teammates.  Irving didn't play down the stretch in the Pro Am and that is probably all by design but his 30 plus point efforts had Duke fans grinning and opposing fans looking forward to hearing his name be called one day by the NBA commish in New York./2010

 Kryie Irving.  Once a Dukie always a Dukie and an NBA All Star and legend to boot.


USA Men’s Select Team has Duke Flavor

357COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Five former Duke standouts, including two members of the Blue Devils’ 2015 national championship team, were selected for the 25-man USA Men’s Select Team that will train with the USA Men’s National Team in July in Las Vegas, USA Basketball announced Tuesday.

Duke’s five players – Rodney Hood, Brandon Ingram, Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker and Justise Winslow – are the most of any school represented on the team. Previous Duke players to be named to USA Men’s Select Teams include J.J. Redick (2007), Nolan Smith (2010), Kyle Singler (2010) and Kyrie Irving (2012), who is currently a finalist for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team.

The USA Men’s Select Team will be coached by San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who was named head coach of the USA Men’s National Team for the 2017-20 quadrennium in October.

“The 2016 USA Basketball Select Team continues our tradition of featuring some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players,” USA Basketball National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo said. “Participation in this camp provides them with valuable experience at the USA Basketball National Team level, while helping prepare the 2016 USA National Team for its upcoming international competition. Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and it is an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future.”

Hood had one of the breakout sophomore seasons in the NBA in 2015-16, averaging 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He was selected for the 2016 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, a year after the Utah Jazz made him their first-round draft pick. Hood was named a captain at Duke before playing in a game for the Blue Devils, having transferred from Mississippi State. In 2013-14, his lone season of action at Duke, he averaged 16.1 points and 3.9 rebounds.

A second-team All-ACC selection and the 2016 ACC Freshman of the Year, Ingram averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 34.6 minutes per game this season. In addition to earning honorable mention All-America accolades from the AP, Ingram was also named the third USBWA Freshman All-American in Duke history, alongside Parker (2014) and Okafor (2015).

One of the nation’s most versatile players, Ingram was the first freshman and only the second player – along with Shane Battier – in Duke history to make at least 80 three-pointers (80) and block at least 40 shots (49) in the same season.

Ingram, who previously represented the U.S. at the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit, was the lone player named to the USA Select Team who was a freshman in the 2015-16 college basketball season.

The third overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds to earn first-team NBA All-Rookie honors this season. He ranked second among rookies in scoring, while also ranking third among first-year players in rebounds and fourth in both double-doubles (11) and blocks (1.2).

In 2015, Okafor was a unanimous first-team All-American, the USBWA National Freshman of the Year and the first freshman ever to win ACC Player of the Year after averaging 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds to help Duke in its fifth national championship.

Okafor owns three international gold medals representing USA Basketball and was a member of the USA Junior National Team from 2010-13.

Parker was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, and established himself as one of the league’s brightest young stars with averages of 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in 2015-16. He was a consensus first-team All-American and the USBWA National Freshman of the Year in 2014 after averaging 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in his lone season at Duke.


Parker won gold medals with USA Basketball at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2017 FIBA U17 World Championship. He was a member of the USA Junior National Team from 2010-12.

Winslow helped lead the Miami Heat to the Eastern Conference semis as a rookie, averaging 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 78 regular season games en route to earning second-team NBA All-Rookie honors. The 10th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, he averaged 6.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 13 playoff games.

He averaged 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds, while shooting .418 from three-point range, in one season at Duke, helping lead the Blue Devils to the 2015 NCAA title.

Winslow has helped USA Basketball win three gold medals at youth tournaments and was a member of the USA Junior National Team from 2010-12.

Members of the USA Select Team will train daily with the USA National Team from July 18-21. All practices are closed to the public.

2016 USA Men’s Select Team

Malcom Brogdon (Virginia)

Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns/Kentucky)

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit Pistons/Georgia)

Willie Cauley-Stein (Sacramento Kings/Kentucky)

Kris Dunn (Providence)

Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic/Arizona)

Jerami Grant (Philadelphia 76ers/Syracuse)

Garry Harris (Denver Nuggets/Michigan State)

Rodney Hood (Utah Jazz/Duke)

Brandon Ingram (Duke)

Brice Johnson (North Carolina)

Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons/Arizona)

Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves/UCLA)

CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers/Lehigh)

Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls/Creighton)

Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets)

Jahlil Okafor (Philadelphia 76ers/Duke)

Jabari Parker (Milwaukee Bucks/Duke)

Julius Randle (Los Angeles Lakers/Kentucky)

D’Angelo Russell (Los Angeles Lakers/Ohio State)

Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics/Oklahoma State)

Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers/Texas)

Denzel Valentine (Michigan State)

Justise Winslow (Miami Heat/Duke)

Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets/Indiana)